Jose Mourinho does not have much time for many of his fellow managers in Europe’s top domestic divisions but the Special One likes Sam Allardyce and that is one of the reasons why Crystal Palace may upset Manchester United on Sunday.
Mourinho and Allardyce were not on the best of terms until they worked together on a Soccer Aid charity match. Mourinho and Allardyce spent a week living in each other’s pockets and came out of the experience as good friends. Such is the bromance between Mourinho and Allardyce that the former has asked the latter to field a weakened side when Manchester United hosts Crystal Palace in the last English Premier League round three days before the Red Devils play Dutch Eredivisie giant Ajax in the UEFA Europa League final.
A controversial incident resulted in Allardyce losing his dream job as England manager so one cannot see Big Sam acceding to Mourinho’s request. Besides, one thinks that Mourinho’s appeal to Allardyce is little more than a ploy to detract attention from what he intends to do, which is put out a Manchester United B team for an English Premier League game that means nothing to the Red Devils. Manchester United cannot move from the English Premier League’s sixth rung and Mourinho has made it abundantly clear that winning the UEFA Europe League and thereby qualifying for the UEFA Champions League is what matters to the Red Devils. There is serious amounts of money available for every position up the English Premier League ladder that Crystal Palace can get before the final whistle blows this weekend and the Eagles will rock up at Old Trafford having won their last match emphatically – 4-0 over Hull at Selhurst Park to secure their status.
It is anyone’s guess as to which 11 players which start for Manchester United against Crystal Palace but one would not be at all surprised if Mourinho, who is already without his side’s top goal scorer, Zlatan Ibrahomivic, through injury, picked an experimental team featuring debutants. Mourinho would not want a strong Manchester United team to taste defeat leading into Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final but, if the Red Devils are the Red Devils in nothing but name, the psychological impact of dropping three English Premier League points to Crystal Palace would be minimal.
The UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup is the one major trophy that Manchester United has not lifted in its illustrious history and Mourinho, who knows the value of winning a competition or two in his first season at the helm of a club, has been focusing on the UEFA tournament for some time. Manchester United drew its English Premier League home game versus Swansea 1-1 prior to its UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg at Celta and the Red Devils did not put up much of a fight when losing 0-2 domestically at Arsenal on the weekend before they hosted the second leg against the Sky Blues.
Marathonbet is offering odds of +215 about Crystal Palace getting the better of Manchester United in the English Premier League match for which one would not be taken aback if it began with the Eagles as visiting favourites. Throw the English Premier League form book out of the window and cop the tip from Mourinho that Manchester United will not bust its gut against a more motivated Crystal Palace side.
Crystal Palace to beat Manchester United
Sunday 21st May, 15:00 GMT
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